A year ago, the village of Lützerath in the coal-mining region of North Rhine-Westphalia was evicted. Almost 600 criminal offences were recorded by the police there. Suspects were also identified using facial recognition.
One year after the eviction of the coal-mining area around the village of Lützerath, the police have solved one in four of the almost 600 offences registered. This was announced by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Interior in Düsseldorf. The police analysed thousands of videos and photos using facial recognition software. Despite this, many suspects remain unknown and are now to be identified with the help of public searches. At the request of the Mönchengladbach public prosecutor’s office, twelve such announcements with photos of suspects have been ordered by the court and implemented so far. However, only two people have been identified as a result.
The “Monk of Lützerath”, who made fun of police officers stuck in the mud, was also unmasked. Dressed in a cowl, the activist, who described himself on X as a “Mud Wizard”, also pushed over a police officer. He was identified by authorities as a former Hamburg G20 prisoner from France, as yellow press reported. Accordingly, he is known to the French authorities for similar offences and had also worn the robe at demonstrations in the country. With the help of a request for mutual legal assistance in France, the suspect is now to be prosecuted in Germany.
The Lützerath investigations are being led by a specially established commission of the police in Aix-la-Chapelle, which presented its final report on Wednesday. It describes the eviction and demolition of Lützerath as one of the largest police operations in the history of the federal state. At times, 3.700 officers from North Rhine-Westphalia and the whole of Germany were involved. According to the ministry, the measures were accompanied by more than 900 accredited journalists from Germany and abroad.
The “Lützerath Investigation Commission” processed a total of 594 criminal offences and analysed almost 3.4 terabytes of image and video data. As a result, 467 criminals have been identified and 156 offences have been solved. According to the report, the clearance rate is “currently” 26 per cent. “A particularly impressive investigative achievement, as over 90 per cent of the perpetrators who attacked the police officers were wearing scarves or balaclavas,” said the head of the Aachen police’s state security department, Detective Superintendent Kai Jaeckel.
So far, according to the report, a man from Erlangen has been sentenced to a fine of 5.400 euros for punching a police officer. In eight other cases, charges have been brought against activists or penalty orders have not yet been finalised.
The investigation commission expects further “clarification of offences”. To this end, the police in Aix-la-Chapelle are also working together with the “Hambach Investigation Commission”. In this way, for example, two people were recognised who had criminal proceedings following the eviction of the Hambach forest in 2018.
There was also police violence in Lützerath, as the German Fundamental Rights Committee reported in March. Following the eviction, 32 criminal proceedings were also initiated against police officers. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 21 of these proceedings have already been discontinued by the public prosecutor’s office.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Despite wearing masks, the police claim to have identified many activists, including the “Mud Wizard” from France (Twitter/ Screenshot).